PHOTO: Yes, that’s a Space X Skateboard.
As you probably know, Elon Musk and a group of investors bought Twitter to make it a “town square that promotes free speech,” or something. As most people who cover tech or even own stock know, Twitter’s business plan sucks because it doesn’t make money.
If you were to ask me who actually used Twitter, I’d break it into the following categories:
Media people trying to be Comedians
Comedians trying to be Media people
A bunch of people into sports, art, and things trying to own each other.
Some people who just read shit.
Oh, and there are some skaters on #skatetwitter, mostly discussing pants or videos and sometimes the pants in videos, and other shit dealing with skateboarding in a mostly positive manner until we disagree and talk some light shit. While #skatetwitter exists, skateboarding mostly lives and thrives on Instagram and YouTube so with many threatening to leave Twitter due to Musk’s acquisition of it, this mostly means nothing in the skate world. Of course, YouTube and Instagram are fucked up but no one is leaving that space because it’s how we connect, find out about things, buy things, and look at things.
That’s vital! Who cares who owns Instagram or any platform? Skateboarding needs Instagram! And YouTube! What would happen if they went bankrupt and all that content disappeared? How would skateboarding survive?
Well, if Meta pulled the plug on IG and Facebook, it certainly would impact the bottom lines of many companies but the smart ones that capture your data willingly would have deep databases and you’d continue to know what drops were happening. You’d still go to Thrasher every day to see what videos came out and you might go to Slap for some spicy conversation.
YouTube goes away? There’s Vimeo and other video hosting sites.
What if I told you that not having this virtual skateboarding world might be a very good thing? No, not in some Boomer-ass back-in-the-day-we-did-this situation, although I’m going to be anecdotal to further my point.
What if your engagement with skateboarding was less virtual and more physical?
What if your conversations were face-to-face?
What if skateboarding’s problems were dealt with on a local level?
What if we started to think about the power of our dollars a bit more?
In my last post—the most far-reaching piece I’ve published here by any metric—I discussed media and free speech and responsibility but I didn’t offer any solutions. I’m not proposing that everyone ditch their phone in the nearest body of water or quit social media or even wish for a cleaning of the slate ala Station Eleven. Nah, this is less drastic and also, more actionable.
OK, here’s the Boomer section. You’ve been warned:
For a large portion of my time skateboarding, my funds and time were limited. I had school and work and obligations so any time doing the thing was precious and anything I bought related to skateboarding had a serious weight to it.
This meant that every choice I made—from what I bought to where I skated mattered. I’d drive a bit further to go to a shop that was more welcoming and had better stock. I avoided certain spots based on bust factor or potential ass-kicking, unless I felt brave. When I bought a pair of TBags pants and all the dye washed out on the first rinse: Fuck them forever. I mean, even going to a non-chain pizza parlor or record shop felt like I was in control of my dollar. Bad service? Annoying clerk? Maybe I’ll never come back unless what you’re offering me is so vital or tasty that I can compromise.
Pre-Bobby Digital World felt like you were more empowered by the ecosystem around you. In the Social Media Age we compromise ourselves daily and we don’t seem to care.
Here are a few thoughts:
- How many ads do you see a day?
- How much of your personal data is being captured?
- Do you care who makes money off that data?
- How often does a post from someone you follow trigger you or just make you feel some kind of way?
- How often do you buy things online that you could easily get from a brick-and-mortar? *Not just Amazon shit like a new spatula but those Polar Big Boys or whatever.
- How many accounts do you follow out of sick curiosity/irony?
- How many things do you repost and give oxygen to without really thinking about where they come from and how they’ll make people feel—this Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial or the Will Smith Slap come to mind.
- How much of your mental bandwidth is devoted to outcomes you can’t control?
- Do you feel obligated to speak or post about whatever issue people feel is the most important one, depending on the day?
I don’t think any of this is good.
Look at your phone and check your screen time.
Ready for a #LIFEHACK?
Everyone jokes that there are “not enough hours in the day!” but you could easily reclaim that time by stepping out of the Metaverse®.
I want to leave you with two thoughts about my two main points:
- Giving less of a shit what happens on a platform will help your mental state
- Giving more of a shit where your time, energy, and money goes will actually improve your mental health.
I know, that sounds like some self-help guru speak but it’s true. “Caring more makes you care less” or whatever. It’s very woo-woo when you say it like that but think of it this way:
Spend a week thinking about your time and where your money goes. Shop local, support your friends and their projects and creativity, buy actual music from artists instead of streaming everything, ride a skateboard and have interactions with people, and if you want to get really wild, volunteer more than a share or a signature, then see how that feels. Maybe even write the shit down, I dunno, I’m not good at the self-help thing.
Maybe you’ll find that outside of rent, utilities, and whatever streaming services you pay for, knowing where your money and time goes feels pretty great. Maybe you’ll unsubscribe from this Newsletter for me being too woo-woo and that’s fine. The thing is, I’m not here to sell you supplements or merch or gain followers, I just like sharing ideas and besides, I’d like to take my own advice and pivot from negativity when I can.
So here we are. Thanks for reading.
The above opinion article was reposted with permission granted by the author Anthony Pappalardo of Artless Industria.
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